Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Well, it's certainly been a while and we are long overdue for updates. First and most important, Baby Anselm was born (he's already two months old! no, I do not have any more recent pictures, sorry) on April 16th. Yay!
Some of you may know that we opted to use a birthing center instead of a hospital this time and boy-o-boy am I glad we did. All in all, it was a great experience and much more pleasant than the many hours strapped into IVs and monitors and flat in a hospital bed that we had with the other two. I was free to move around as much as I wanted and get relief and help from Nate and our doula, Jessica. And thanks to Jessica, we've actually got pictures to document the whole thing!

I don't remember how I handled the contractions in the hospital, but here's Nate giving me counter-pressure (per instructions from Jessica) on my hips through a contraction. 

and then 30 seconds later we're laughing and having fun again.
Of course, being at the birthing center means there was no pain management (other than massages, counterpressure, etc) and I was really fine with that. I had a mantra going through most of labor: "the trick is not minding that it hurts" from Lawrence of Arabia. But not surprisingly, by the time I was pushing, I had remembered that neither Lawrence nor O'Toole had ever had a baby and that message was no longer welcome! I found out later that babies who come out sunny-side-up are MUCH more painful to push out, so I feel a little better about how I handled his birth :) Because, yikes! Really!
Anyway, I checked in at about 10, he was born at 2 and we were on our way home by 9. Recovery was fast, seriously fast! By now, I feel GREAT and now have the long, hard road of losing all this extra weight. :)

The big brother and sister love their new baby and are, for the most part, really good with him.

You can see here the beautiful sleeper Nate built. It hooks right into our bed so he's there with us at night. Things are really good here.

In other news, Nate has finished his second year of teaching and now has summer vacation to spend with us! Lot's of fun ahead, I'm sure! And since we're starting a new outnumbered chapter of our lives, I'll make a new resolution to keep this baby updated more often. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back again

It's been a long while since we've posted and it would be tempting to try to update you on everything you've missed in the past several weeks, but to save time and in an attempt to avoid boredom, I'll just give you a brief summary:

  • We had a great visit to the Allen Homestead (aka, "the farm") in upstate New York to celebrate Aunt Emily and Uncle Matt's wedding. It was a beautiful, intimate wedding and a really wonderful weekend for all of us.
  • Happy has been asking about October, Halloween and his birthday for the past several months and now that October is finally here, he cannot get enough of spooky stories, pumpkins and ghosts. In fact, he is wearing a blanket and "whoo-ing" right now.
  • Chubbles is talking more and more all the time. She entertained us all tonight by counting up to 10 then racing herself around the living room...many times. The more times she did it, the fewer numbers got counted "count again? one... three... GO!" and off she runs.
  • We got our family pictures again a couple weeks ago by a very talented photographer friend. They're not finished yet, but she did send us one preliminary proof:

I'd like to direct your attention to my mid-section. Now normally, I'd never purposely invite you to stare at my not-so-muscular middle. This time however, you might have noticed it as soon as you saw the picture (That's certainly the first thing I saw!). So I'll save you the trouble of not asking--yes, it is a larger-than-normal belly and yes, it will continue to grow for another 6 months until we finally welcome its current occupant into the outside world. 
Here's to number 3, due April 12th, 2013.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bait and Switch

Curmudgeon got called to teach early-morning seminary this year.  Once we'd taken a couple of weeks to adjust to it they pulled a bait-n-switch. "By the way, we neglected to mention it before, but there are some dress and grooming standards for seminary teachers." Whaa?! Curmudgeon took it a lot better than I did, but we made the transition a fun one by milking his wooly beard for all it was worth during the shaving process. Anybody want to cast a vote on your favorite look?
Besides adventures in shaving, life continues much the same for us here. Happy has started playing "caves" a lot so we've got a semi-permanent blanket fort set up in the living room. 

Crazy kids.
Anyway, it's all fun here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Two Years Old!

We celebrated Chubble's 2nd birthday last week. Isn't that amazing!? She is our dancer and artist, so mostly her presents revolved around markers, drawing and--the highlight for me--a tutu.
Here she is at her own little desk+chair (and wearing the tutu) with the magic color wonder markers that my sister-in-law introduced us to. Chubbles colors on everything--our walls still have some scribbles that I haven't taken care of yet, so having markers that only work on the special paper is, in my opinion, a great breakthrough.
I love this picture of the kiddos getting ready for church in their handsome clothes.

In other news, the weather has made an abrupt about-face and after more than a month of 100+ temperatures, we're finally able to turn the AC off, open the windows, and put the covers back on our beds.  And I for one am relieved to be in long sleeves and to take my hair out of its constant summer-time ponytail. Downside: school starts this week, which means that Curmudgeon won't be with us  during the days anymore. Sigh. He's also teaching seminary this year, so he has extra-early mornings and won't be able to bike to work. I'm thinking we'll be having early bedtime for the lot of us here. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Life Changing Event?

I spent last week at the Jewell Early Music Festival Workshop. It was a great experience and has taken a few days for me to digest my feelings about the workshop. For one thing, this was the first time since Boyo was born that I've been away from my children. Sure, I saw them each morning before I left for the day, but they were always asleep before I got home and I was basically away from them for 5 days straight. (Thanks to Curmudgeon. A lot of husbands might complain or feel put-upon to do that for a full week, but not mine. He's enthusiastic, supportive and excited to spend time with the kiddos. :)

Those of you who know me well know that for the past 12 years I've had an unhealthy, unproductive relationship with my voice. I have never quite been able to get over the disappointments of college or the shattering blows to my self confidence. I've gone back and forth between heartbreaking desire,  crippling fear and bitter resentment at the perceived injuries done to my nonexistent career.
At the same time, I've continued to sing here and there, even doing a public solo recital in Alaska and joining Curmudgeon in his recital at OSU. When we moved to Kansas I was determined to find a way to sing here so I began researching for a teacher. I was lucky enough to get a place with the best early music specialist in the area and we've been working together now for about six months. The improvement in my vocal health, confidence and knowledge is plain. 
When I found out about the JEMSfest and immediately knew I needed to attend. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the experience will change my life. The workshop was a fun mix of vocal masterclasses and lessons, ensemble work, rehearsals with instrumentalists on period-instruments and finally, solo and ensemble recitals and a final concert including the performance of the first English opera: Venus and Adonis by John Blow.  As much as I enjoyed all of the work and the rehearsals, the most important aspect of the week was making connections. Getting work in this (or any) business is 90% about who you know. Cynical as it sounds, it's been a huge boost for me to realize that. 
My confidence also got a big shot-in-the-arm as I worked with other professionals who treated me not like a student and not like an amateur, but like a fellow musician. I came out of the workshop with invitations to join a number of local ensembles and I'm on "the list" now. One of the voice faculty, a professional countertenor, told me that he was so glad I was in KC and that he is going to do whatever he can to make sure I get work as a soloist around here.  For the first time since I was a teenager, I feel like I am not just a pretend-musician. I feel like I just found the golden ticket...I have relationships now and there are people in my corner.
It has all been a treat. In September I'll start rehearsals with these different ensembles. I'll continue working with my own fabulous teacher and keep building my skills and repertoire. It's exciting.

Less exciting is the fact that I can't seem to make embedding audio in blogger work anymore, so if you want to hear anything, you can check out my website here on the ABOUT page. There's one recording from the workshop and I found it a little disappointing. The mic was too far away so it's a bit quiet and when I listen some major things pop out that I'd do differently next time, but it at least gives you an idea of the stuff I'm working on. That piece, by the way, is one that I transcribed from a facsimile of the original 1664 printing...pretty fun project.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Boyo's Room

I have some more photos of the slow progression of making our house a home. We repainted boyo's room. I know the angles are off, but picture yourself standing just where the door in the old picture is to get the vantage point of the new views. I know the old taupe doesn't look that bad in this photo, but you just have to remember that that photo was taken before we bought the place and by the time we moved in it had had big patches of plaster all over the walls and a halo of pain around the moulding where the contractors had repainted without taping anything. It looked awful.

And now, with the bright white, intense blue and green shades I think it's a pretty great little boy's room. Evidently Happy likes it too.
 Some summer cuteness:

 and Daddy keeping fit. It's about 150 degrees outside (okay, 107) and here he is hauling about 100 pounds of baby behind him. He's my superman.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mystery Summer

We continue this week with another American (Canadian) made mystery. The nearly-always insufferable Maury Chaykin takes an enjoyable turn as the grouchy, misanthropic, hermit private detective Nero Wolfe. Wolfe can't abide time-wasters or imbeciles. His dearest friends are his collection of rare orchids and his only passion is haute cuisine. His is an exceptionally sharp deductive mind, but leaves all the footwork to his capable assistant Archie (Timothy Hutton), a debonair ladies man who can talk himself into--and out of--any situation. 

Nero Wolfe is a light-hearted, humorous and colorful take on film-noir style (as contradictory as that may sound. All pinstripe suits and mysterious damsels in distress, the writing is clever and fun, the production low-budget but highly entertaining. But our favorite unique quality of the show is the rotating cast. The main characters remain the same, but the supporting cast of actors can be found playing new roles in each new mystery. The blond above must show up at least a dozen times throughout the series...always as a new character. Seeing familiar faces crop up again and again makes you feel like you're participating in local dinner theatre or something. 

Check your local library. I hope you'll be able to find some of these. If you get a chance to watch, let us know what you think of them!